Trapped in a Reflection (The Color of Sky)

Featured - Trapped in a reflection

By Brandon Moore

What color do you see;
when you look at me?

Do you see BLACK
Instead of my brown skin

The color of wickedness?
The color of sin?

Am I the color of menace;
A shadow in death’s valley?
The color of stalking you
down a long dark alley?

Or maybe you see the color of EBT
The color of single mothers
And missing baby daddies

Am I the color of handouts?
The color of housing vouchers?
The color of neighborhoods filled with
bulletproof checkout counters?

Or am I the color of gangbanging?
Of drive-bys and drug runs?
But NOT the color of
limited economic options

Or the color of social isolation
the product of you never passing
the Navy Yard Train Station

“It’s too dangerous!”
You exclaim as you try to explain
Why it’s okay to color an entire community
With casual disdain

It’s a damn shame…

That you see me
as the color of “Stop and Frisk”
But not the color of the 4th amendment
Or Gadsden Flags warning “Don’t Tread on Me”
And definitely not the color of a right to open carry

Oh no, not those colors…
those colors aren’t for me.

‘Cause see, you think I’m color of
“you just lucky to be free”
The color of “lock ’em up and throw away the key”
But not a victim of tough on crime policies

No, not the color of redlining,
But yet you color me “ghetto”
When my people migrated North
In your communities we couldn’t settle

But now you peddle the politics of personal responsibility
Without acknowledging your role in our historic inequality

You tell me you can’t help but see color
I say “true” but if you must,

Color me…
Christopher Columbus
in the corporate board room.

Color me Neil Armstrong
Highsteppin’ on the moon

When you see my color
You need to see…

Me standing tall
in the face of adversity
Bloody but not broken
by 300 years of racist policy

You can
Color me a mother
raising her kids the best way she can

You can
Color me a father
teaching his son how to be a man

You can
Color me solving differential equations
And particle acceleration

You can
Color me writing poetry
in the Caribbean on vacation

You can Color me crushing the Bar
You can Color me in brain surgery

You can Color me
driving the cross town bus
And getting off at 3 in the morning

Whatever you color
Color me individually
Because we’re NOT a monolith

And whatever you color
Color it carefully
Because ALL lives are